The impact of labor market exclusion and job insecurity on health and well-being among youth : a literature review

Faculty/Professorship: Methods of Empirical Social Research  
Author(s): Voßemer, Jonas; Eunicke, Nicoletta
Volume Number/Title: EXCEPT Working Papers ; 2
ISSN: 2504-7159
Corporate Body: Tallinn University
Publisher Information: Tallinn
Year of publication: 2015
Pages: 53
ISBN: 978-9949-29-294-3
Language(s): English
This literature review discusses studies on the effects of labor market exclusion and job insecurity on health and well-being. Complementing previous reviews, we focus on youth, because previous research shows that young people increasingly experience labor market exclusion and job insecurity. In view of the fact that youth also suffered disproportionately from the economic crisis in 2008 and its aftermath, understanding the health and well-being consequences of early unemployment and career instability is of great importance. The transition from school-to-work represents a critical and sensitive period for youth. Experiences of labor market exclusion and job insecurity may set young people on trajectories that influence their health and well-being over the life course. To assess the potential short- and long-term negative effects, this review highlights the central findings of qualitative and quantitative empirical studies on the effects of labor market position on health and well-being. Bringing together the research on unemployment and job insecurity, we provide a comprehensive review that also emphasizes differences in the experience and consequences of early labor market exclusion and job insecurity across individuals, social groups, and countries. The systematic review shows that youth unemployment negatively affects mental health and well-being and to a lesser extent physical health. Moreover, recent research suggests that these negative effects may be persistent highlighting unemployment’s potential to scar young people’s health and well-being. Contrary to the dominant assumption, the literature does not allow concluding whether unemployment is more detrimental for youth or workers in their mid- or late career. Besides unemployment, research also shows that insecure jobs and perceived job insecurity impair young adults’ well-being. In contrast to the unemployment literature, these results are, however, often based on cross-sectional studies of the general population. More longitudinal research on young adults is needed to analyze how insecure jobs affect youth during their transition from school-to-work and their early career. This review also carved out three broader issues for future research. First, the majority of research that investigates under which circumstances labor market exclusion and job insecurity have negative effects is based on adult populations. However, it is likely that many moderating factors have different effects for younger and older workers (e.g., gender, unemployment protection). Second, quantitative and qualitative studies highlight that future research should pay more attention to differences in the experience of labor market exclusion and career instability. For instance, no studies exist that compare whether search unemployment after leaving school or university has similar effects as losing one’s first job. Third, employment status should be conceptualized as a continuum such that the different experiences of unemployment and job insecurity can be compared in their effects on young adults’ health and well-being.
Type: Book
Year of publication: 12. December 2016